Can't find what you're looking for? Try Google Search.

France's first lady defends marriage and her image

PARIS - France's first lady Carla Bruni has denied that her marriage to President Nicolas Sarkozy was over-hasty and has leapt to the defence of her husband, whose approval ratings are in freefall.
France's first lady Carla Sarkozy (R) relaxes in the sun as she rests her head on the shoulder of President Nicolas Sarkozy who uses the phone while at a cafe terrace in the gardens of the Versailles Chateau near Paris, February 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Antoine Gyori)

In her first interview since their secret wedding earlier this month, Bruni played down her image as a man-eating socialite and told L'Express magazine that she would take her new role seriously.

Sarkozy and Bruni, an Italian supermodel-turned-singer, married just three months after first meeting and a mere four months after the president wrapped up a swift, painful divorce from his second wife, Cecilia.

Their whirlwind romance has raised eyebrows in France, and given voters the impression that Sarkozy is over-impetuous, but Bruni denied that they had moved too fast.

"That's false. Things between Nicolas and me weren't quick, they were immediate. Therefore, as far as we were concerned things moved quite slowly," she was quoted as saying.

"I didn't have any hesitation. I wanted to marry him straight away. I feel that nothing bad can happen when I am with him," she said in a glowing eulogy of his merits.

Bruni, 40, has been linked with numerous men in the past, has a child from a previous relationship and has been portrayed in the press as a party animal and a home-breaker.

"I understand that people are worried about what I am, especially with these portraits of me that are often fantastical and sometimes awful. But I want to reassure the French. I am 40, I am normal, serious, aware, simple, even if I am privileged."


Sarkozy, 53, has been married twice before and cynics have questioned how long his third marriage might hold up.

Bruni herself said she was in it for the long haul.

"I've never been married before. I come from an Italian culture and wouldn't like to get divorced. I'm therefore the first lady until the end of my husband's mandate and his wife until death," she said.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Bruni said her husband made her feel safe. "Nicolas is brave enough for two people. He is very protective, very paternal," she said.

"I don't yet know what I can do in my role as first lady, but I know the manner in which I want to carry it out -- seriously," she added.

She said her first official trip as first lady would be a visit to Britain scheduled for March 26-28, adding that it would be "exhilarating" to meet the queen.

Her marriage to Sarkozy has helped trigger a collapse in his ratings, with many voters accusing the president of focusing too much on his private life and not enough on their economic problems, such as the growing cost of living.

But Bruni said her husband was constantly at work and they managed to have very little time together. Even their honeymoon had lasted just 20 minutes, she joked.

Although Bruni is used to the glare of the media, she said the attention she had received since she started dating Sarkozy had staggered her, with "600 photographers" turning up to shoot their holidays in Petra in January.

No comments: